30 Jan 2003

Parts of New Caledonia on high alert as Cyclone Beni approaches

11:41 am on 30 January 2003

Parts of New Caledonia are now on maximum alert as Cyclone Beni moves in a south-east direction at about 25 kilometres an hour.

This morning the cyclone was reported about 200 kilometres north of the island of Ouvea.

Beni has average winds of185 kilometres an hour with gusts up to 280 kilometres an hour close to its centre.

A heightened alert has been declared for the New Caledonian mainland.

School holidays camps in the Noumea area have been closed and military reinforcements have been sent to the Loyalty Islands ahead of Beni's arrival